Underdog Ricky Stenhouse Lives American Dream-Wins 65th Daytona 500, Longest Race in History
Yesterday’s Daytona 500 was the absolute best NASCAR race to experience. This is the 75th year of NASCAR, the 65th anniversary of the Daytona 500, and driver Ricky Stenhouse won with only his third career win. It was historic.
I went with my family, and we spent the whole day at the race track. We started by buying NASCAR swag. Looking the part is always important; we fit right in with our trucker hats and t-shirts.
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Then we went to the Fanzone and got to sign the track and walk through Pit Row. Pit Row is where each driver’s team has a space along the track where drivers can make a “pit stop” to get their car tires changed, refuel, clear windshields, and have repairs made to their vehicles. A typical refueling and tire change takes a whip-fast five seconds.
There was even a pre-race concert with country singer Dierks Bentley. Families and friends had the time of their lives, and then everyone took their seats for a flight show from the Thunderbirds and then the big race.
For those new to Daytona 500, the race is 200 laps, totaling 500 miles. What makes it exciting is that many drivers don’t make it to the end of the race. You don’t know what’s going to happen.
This win looked good for Kyle Busch. I even sent a message to Jolt saying that Busch would win his first Daytona 500. Then the race went into overtime, and I sent another message saying that it looked like Busch was about to lose his eighteenth Daytona 500. Sure enough, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., who drove the No. 47 Chevrolet, won in double overtime by just an edge over Joey Logano.
According to USA Today, Stenhouse won the longest race in history with 212 laps and 530 miles. He accomplished this after a multi-car crash with very little fuel left. That’s when I understood the magic of these races-you think it will turn out one way for sure, and then it doesn’t. It’s completely unpredictable.
There will be much discussion about rule changes because of this win. Due to two rule changes, a driver no longer has to win under the green flag. Stenhouse won under the yellow flag. Under the old rules, the outcome would have been different. Hardcore NASCAR fans will debate this one for months, and there may be a rule change.
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This was a career-changing race. In a quote from USA Today, Stenhouse said;
I made a few mistakes, but I was able to battle back. The whole team worked really hard this off-season. I hope you had fun. That was a heck of a race.
When the race was over, a beautiful fireworks display was even better than the fourth of July.
NASCAR is patriotic and fun. It’s 250,000 people coming together, drinking Budweiser, and saluting the flag, and it turned me into a NASCAR fan. Stenhouse made everyone proud. His story is about the American dream we have all grown up with. Hard work and true grit pay off.
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